A new venture designed to combat social isolation and loneliness in older people has opened its doors in Ilkley.

Thanks to the generosity of Bradford Theatres, Open House for Seniors, is now able to run a Friday drop-in at The Winter Gardens each week from 10am to 2pm.

It is a chance for older people to enjoy a friendly welcome with a cup of tea and refreshments, plus other activities, such as exercise classes and nail-cutting services.

Open House already runs a successful drop-in at St George’s Hall in Bradford three days a week and when Mark Davies, halls manager for Bradford Theatres, saw the advantages it gave to older people in the district, he offered the use of The Winter Gardens.

It was an offer Open House could not refuse and on Friday, August 30, it held its first event.

Chairman Pam James said: “Open House is renowned for its friendly welcome and hundreds of people come in to Bradford from all over the district during the year. It is hoped this new venture will give the same pleasure to Ilkley people and indeed the visitors to the town.

“From the recent first morning there has been such surprise from those dropping in when they see the lovely surroundings and sample the delicious light refreshments supplied by local Mr Loafer.

“Steve Charlesworth, who is ‘Mr Loafer’, has been most helpful and supportive of this new venture and his baking is much appreciated by all the visitors.”

Colleen Barlow, an extend exercise trainer, is starting her sessions tomorrow at 11am. Called Fabulously Fit it includes exercises to fit all abilities and costs £4. Happy Feet are also extending into The Winter Garden to meet the demand of older people to have this toenail-cutting service.

Age UK will be presenting a fashion show later in the year and Creative Support will be providing various activities in the weekly programme.

Open House will be officially opened on Friday, October 4, when chairman of Ilkley Parish Council Mike Gibbons will welcome everyone and the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khan Hussain, will do the honours.

Mrs James added: “Do come and see for yourself this superb venue now offering a friendly welcome with a cuppa plus other activities as people wish to join in but do not have to. Drop in and experience yourself the friendship of Open House, Ilkley.”